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Cech: Defeat a 'slap in the face'
Published : 01 Sep 2012 13:29:00Rss feed
Chelsea's shell-shocked stars vowed to treat their UEFA Super Cup humiliation as a huge wake-up call after their 4-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid. The Blues' latest efforts to become one of the game's great entertainers won them plenty of admirers as they stormed to the top of the Barclays Premier League this season. But it has also contributed to them missing out on the first two pieces of silverware from a campaign in which they are competing for an unprecedented seven trophies. Friday night's display - especially in a first half that saw Radamel Falcao plunder a hat-trick - bordered on the clueless. Goalkeeper Petr Cech said: "Sometimes, it's nice to get a slap in the face. "It's important in football to learn from the lesson and to avoid it in the future and this will be the key." Midfielder John Obi Mikel added: "It is a kick in the backside. We have to take it and we have to keep our heads up and make sure it doesn't happen again." To do that, Chelsea must rediscover the sheer bloody-mindedness that helped them end their agonising wait for Champions League glory and avoid the kind of reckless attacking that saw them picked off time and again. Owner Roman Abramovich may want to see 'Barcelona in blue shirts' but manager Roberto Di Matteo has repeatedly spoken of the importance of finding the "balance". No Chelsea manager has managed that to Abramovich's satisfaction and Di Matteo is under more pressure than most to do so sooner rather than later, with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola lurking in the background. Having splashed out £80million almost exclusively in attacking midfield areas, it is the defensive part of the engine room that now needs looking after. Mikel appears to have reinvented himself this season as a deep-lying marauder but that is surely exactly what Chelsea do not need when he is playing alongside Frank Lampard and behind the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Ramires. "It's the same role for me as last year, trying to keep the balance, trying to keep the shape," Mikel claimed, before going on to admit he was finding it more difficult this term. "It is, it is, but it's up to the manager and it's something that we all have to look into." He added: "It's true that it's going to take time but, at the same time, we are all big players, good players, and we have to adapt quickly. "Guys are going to come in and it's going to take a while but we don't want to use that as an excuse. "Last year, we were very compact, we would fight for each other and everyone defended together but this year we sort of want to play fancy football. "Sometimes, it's not just about playing fancy football, it's about putting a shift in and trying to work hard and everyone defends together and works hard together." The worst thing Chelsea could do would be to dismiss Friday night's defeat - and the Community Shield loss to Manchester City - as blips in competitions they did not really care about. Mikel said: "We definitely didn't view it like that. We had the same preparation as every game. "It's just one of those games you come out, there are two mistakes and you're 2-0 down. "We just have to go back to the drawing board and make sure that it doesn't happen again. No wants to lose a game in the manner we did." The cynics may claim Friday night simply witnessed the end of Chelsea's lucky streak after fate smiled so kindly on their Champions League campaign. But Cech said: "We didn't run out of luck. We got exactly what we deserved." He added: "It's a very heavy defeat for us and disappointing but only now will we see the real sense of the team in how we bounce back from that. "If the squad is stronger than last year, we will only see during the season and I think it is up to us to show the strength of the squad during the campaign."
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